Let’s Talk About Onions

Onions are a member of the allium family of vegetables and herbs. This family also includes chives, garlic, scallions, and leeks. Just so you know, scallions are another name for green onions. I am sure there is some subtle difference between the two, but they are so frequently used interchangeably that I don’t think it matters.

Onions can vary in size and flavor, as well as in shape and color.  They can be sweet, sharp, spicy, and pungent. Whether or not the onion is in season directly influences its flavor and its affect on your precious recipes so keep this in mind when shopping.

Onions are a nutrient-dense vegetable that can be sautéed, roasted, grilled, caramelized, or eaten raw. They are low in calories, yet high in beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

If you want to learn about onions and have a good laugh, watch this youtube video. It really is funny.

This is a much more serious but informative video about onions. Did you know that onions have real health benefits?

Chives are related to garlic, leeks and onions and are native to Asia, North America and Europe. It has a milder flavor than onions and garlic.Chives add flavor soups, dips, mashed or baked potatoes, fish, seafood dishes and omelets. Heat destroys their flavor, so add chives to dishes at the last minute.

Garlic is used as a flavoring in cooking, but it has also been used as a medicine throughout ancient and modern history. To learn more about garlic, follow the link for an article from the George Mateljan Foundation. Their mission is to help you eat and cook the healthiest way for optimal health. I could rattle off a lot of what is on their website, but I wouldn’t be able to do it better. I highly recommend visiting for some great information on this herb.

Green onions are actually baby, immature onions that are picked before they are fully grown. Green onions are milder and sweeter than their more mature selves. They are frequently eaten raw or cooked by stir-frying, steaming, or roasting. Green onions are great for topping salads, soups, and pasta.

Leeks add subtlety and flavor to recipes without overpowering the other flavors that are present. Although leeks are available throughout the year, they are in season from the fall through the early part of spring which is when they are at their best. Their leaves are not edible, but the stalk and bulb are usually sliced thin and used in soups.

Pearl Onions are mild, very small, and sweet. Best things about these little guys, you don’t need to chop them. Just peel, give a quick rinse, and they are ready.

Red Onions are not good choices when caramelization is needed. These onions are medium to large in size and have a mild to sweet flavor. They are most commonly used raw in salads and sandwiches. They tend to lose their colour when cooked.

Vidalia Onions are very sweet and best eaten raw. This makes them an excellent choice for topping that juicy burger. If you prefer the onions on your burger to be cooked, then white onion is a better choice.

White onions and yellow onions  can be stored up to a month in a cool, dark place that has good air circulation. They should not be stored in the fridge. These two onions are interchangeable and there is hardly a difference in taste. They are higher in sugar and great for caramelization.